1984 Aerosmith had gone from being one
of the biggest Bands in the world to a
complete Rock 'n' Roll disaster area.
Sales had hit an all time low and live
performances were erratic to say the least;
the results of living the life of Riley
to the max. The last album by the original
lineup had been a patchy affair ("Night
in the Ruts" 1979), after which both
guitarists, Joe Perry and Brad Whitford,
left the band to eventually be replaced
by Rick Dufay and Jimmy Crespo. Both were
very talented musicians, but their own
lifestyle was never going to be a good
influence on frontman Steve Tyler.
The band staggered back onto the road
and even managed to produce an album,
'Rock in a Hard Place' 1982. Perhaps the
least said about the better, it included
a version of the easy listening classic
'Cry me a River', which was so full of
pathos it nearly exploded.
But by late 1983 things had got to the
point where some band members were sleeping
on friends floors, Joe Perry's solo career
had gone off the rails big time, Brad
Whitford’s new band with Derek St. Holmes
had released one album to commercial indifference
and critical ridicule, what remained of
the Band were in tatters.
Then old time fan and managerial genius
Tim Collins came along and picked up the
reigns. Bridges were built and at the
first meeting of all the original players
and management team, it was decided that
if things were going to be put to rights
it had to be done properly, in other words
straight. A period in rehab was diagnosed
after which even alcohol was banned in
the studio or backstage at the concerts.
A new recording contract was signed with
Geffen Records and the band went out on
the road to get used to being a band again.
The first new release from the band, "Done
with Mirrors" 1985, was not a success,
a good album, but somehow missing that
'Aerosmith' spark. So yet again 'Aerosmith'
were written off.
Fate dealt 'Aerosmith' a wonderful hand
when American Rap stars 'Run MC' asked
Joe Perry and Steve Tyler to join them
in the studio to record a Rap version
of one of 'Aerosmith's' earliest hits
"Walk this way". Once this was
released and was a huge hit single worldwide
on the back of massive airplay from MTV,
'Aerosmith' had one more chance. However,
they knew it was now or never.
The whole band relocated to the Little
Mountain Sound Studios in Vancouver. The
management brought in a new producer to
replace Ted Templeton. Richard Fairbairn
was first choice and accepted the job.
Richard Fairbairn was really hot at the
time having just come off producing the
multi platinum "Slippery when Wet"
for 'Bon Jovi'. Desmond Child and Jim
Vallance were also brought to the studio
to help out with the songwriting side
This time 'Aerosmith’ fired on all six.
Preceded by a hit single in the band’s
own right "Dude (Looks Like a Lady)"
which again got heavy MTV play listing.
The album "Permanent Vacation"
was a massive hit worldwide - the boys
were back in the saddle.
This is Rock 'n' Roll at its best, make
no mistake. Right from the opening song
"Hearts done time" when Bradford
and Perry's guitar battle it out mid-song,
to all the hit singles, including the
power ballad "Angel", which
still has enough grungy Perry guitar riffs
to not make you feel too wimpy as you
sing-along. Steve Tyler's "St. John"
is probably the sleaziest song ever recorded
by the band. If this song doesn't make
you swagger, nothing will. The one cover
version is a storming version of 'The
Beatles' “I'm Down”, which thunders out
the speakers with Tyler contributing a
marvelously over the top Piano solo. Throughout
every song Hamilton and Kramer lay down
a rock solid groove, which carries you
along from one to the next without skipping
a beat. Album closer "The Movie "
is a Joe Perry instrumental, broody and
atmospheric, every home should have one.
From this point on there was no stopping
'Aerosmith', but it was close to disaster
talk about living on the edge.
Pawed by Mott The Dog
Remastered by Ella Crew